Saturday, September 28, 2013

Week 5

We've been at this well over a month now!  Your gift list should be getting smaller and you should see quite the collection of ready-made meals and holiday goodies filling your freezer.  I'm just happy that there is finally a noticeable change in temperature here in the desert!  It's hard to think "Christmas" in the midst of triple digit heat.  But it hasn't stopped us!  So, let's get busy-

Here is your task list for this week:

Week of September 28th - October 4th

  • Make a batch of holiday goodies

  • Make one extra freezer meal

  • Buy 2 canned food items

  • Buy 1 or 2 of your gifts

  • Wrap and label your packages

  • Work on homemade gifts

This should be becoming part of your routine.  Feel free to throw in an extra meal or baked good if you have time.  No one says you have to stop at one!

Happy prepping!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Week 4

I hope you are feeling a sense of accomplishment.  You are making small strides that will save you large amounts of time later.  If you feel like you are not making a dent, just remember it will all pay off in the end.   Here goes!

Week of September 21st - 27th
  • Make one batch of holiday goodies

  • Make one freezer meal- If the idea of making an extra meal is daunting.  Consider buying a frozen lasagna or pre-made meal that you can store for a busy day.  Even some frozen hamburger patties can be purchased and saved for the holidays.  Don't put too much pressure on yourself to make something from scratch.  Think outside the box.

  • Buy 2 canned food items

  • Buy 1/8  of your gifts- This generally amounts to one or two, depending on how large your list of recipients is.  My goal is to buy one or two each week.  The key is to spread out the cost of shopping for so many people.  Even if you are purchasing one gift per pay period, you'll be amazed at how much is done by the time the season rolls around.

  • Work 1 hour on homemade gifts/crafts

  • List any linens that need replacing- Consider table linens as well as towels and sheets if you are expecting out of town guests.

Saturday, September 14, 2013

Week 3

This week's task list is simple and will change little for the next several weeks.  Let's jump right in!

Week of September 14th - 20th

  • Make one batch of holiday goodies

  • Make one freezer meal

  • Buy 2 canned foods- These can be off of your holiday menu shopping list or purchased and stored for canned food drives later on.

  • Buy supplies for homemade gifts

  • Buy camera batteries, blank video discs, anything you might need to capture your holiday memories.  Store them somewhere safe and jot their location down in your notebook so you can find them later.  If you have a device with rechargeable batteries, pencil in a date or dates on your calendar to charge them.  It will be a good reminder and you insure that you have a fully charged battery for that holiday recital or concert. 

Saturday, September 7, 2013

Week 2

I hope your first week was a success and helped to clear your head of the oh so many holiday details that you will take care of over the next several weeks.  Now that you've got them down on paper, you need not think about them until it's time to tackle them!  Let's get down to business this week!
Week of September 7th- 13th
  • Finish up any lists you weren't able to- Sometimes you need the input of others to make final decisions regarding menus and gift lists.  Do the best you can.  If you receive smirks and eye rolls when you broach the subject of Christmas in September, like I have, it's okay to wait until a more publicly acceptable time to discuss it with friends and family.  Jot something down, but be sure to use pencil so you can make necessary adjustments later. Remember, that not everyone is as organized and proactive as you are. :-)

  • Make a long-term shopping list for your holiday meals if you didn't get around to it.  This list is extremely important.  Keep it in your wallet or use an app on your smartphone to create it so that it is always with you.  Each week you will buy 1 or two canned items from this list.  This helps to cut down the outrageous grocery bills you will encounter in November and December.  If you have a chance, you can add your freezer meal ingredients to this list.  Remember, canned foods don't have to be in a can.  Feel free to stock up on boxed and packaged items such as pasta or dip mixes (while you can find them).  I keep my master list on the inside of my pantry door so that when it comes time to head to the grocery store, I can see right away what I need to pick up.  Those items get added to my weekly list before I head out to do shopping.

  • Buy extra flour, sugar, butter (which freezes beautifully).  Don't forget more obscure baking essentials.  Check your inventory of baking soda, baking powder, vanilla extract, yeast, shortening, vegetable oil, and spices.  Also, invest in some plastic containers and heavy duty tin foil to store and freeze your holiday goodies.  The dollar store is a great source for plastic containers!

  • Make one freezer meal- Consider doubling the recipe for a meal on your weekly menu.  Meatloaf freezes really well!  Pinterest and Allrecipes are helpful resources if you're short on freezer meal ideas.

  • Develop ideas for gifts/d├ęcor- This is your chance to be creative.  If there is a craft you are anxious to try or make as a gift idea, you now have time to make it a reality.  Also, begin considering what you might purchase for others.  If you are stuck, consider searching for  a phrase like "gifts for brothers" online.  You'll be surprised at what you find.  Do as much exploring online as you can.  It will save you hours of traipsing around the mall later.  Keep a master gift list, a list of online orders, and a list of gift ideas.  As you make purchases, continue listing what you have purchased on your master gift list.

  • Order Christmas cards- It may seem too early to do this, but I can't even begin to express how relieved you will be to have this piece over and done with.  If you like to order photo cards, consider using a photo from your summer vacation rather than a holiday picture.  Or, don't be afraid to turn your air conditioner down, throw on a sweater and have someone snap a shot of your family in winter attire now.  Since cards are something you don't usually get a smoking deal on, rejoice in the fact that the task and expense are behind you.